Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Blood, shoes and search engines

I was out with a friend the other day, in a bar before heading to a gig. We were talking music, and my friend was trying to remember the name of a band. It was a tip-of-the tongue moment, and it was driving my friend nuts.

He could remember that it was a guy and a girl, that they were from New York, and that they had put out an album with a cover featuring a pair of shoes with blood on them.

Eventually he got out his phone and started searching. After a few unsuccesful search attempts, he started cursing Yahoo!, the default search engine on his iPhone.

Being a Samsung borrower, I then got out my phone and gave Google a try. I typed in 'album cover blood shoes new york', and looked at the hits.

"Sleigh Bells?" I said.

The response was a very relieved affirmative.

Sleigh Bells popped up in the second hit that Google returned. My friend then tried that exact same search combination in Yahoo!, wanting to give it a last chance to proove itself. It failed.

I've just searched Yahoo! again now, and have also tried Bing!, to widen the scope a bit.

At the time of writing, Sleigh Bells do not feature in the first 50 hits of either Yahoo! or Bing!. I am aware that Bing! now powers Yahoo!, but their returns are not the same at all, so it was worthwhile checking both.

According to this article on HowStuffWorks.com, Bing! focuses on four areas: shopping, travel, local and health. This perhaps explains Bing!'s inability to return what we were looking for on this occasion, although given that Sleigh Bell's album Reign of Terror is something I might well have wanted to shop for, I'm not sure Microsoft should be let off that lightly.

And Yahoo! have no excuse.

Obviously one trial proves nothing. However, fans of noise pop might want to consider downloading the Google app if they have iPhones. Or else start using http://www.bing-vs-google.com, whose name is I think fairly self-explanatory.

All that remains is for me to wonder whether the very act of publishing this blog post will change the search results of any of those three engines...?

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